Whilst I was at home over Easter I had my obligatory hour or so looking at all of Momma Bury’s cookbooks. She’s got hundreds and whilst my Dad might not fully understand why she keeps ‘needing’ to acquire more, I can’t help but agree with her! Cookbooks sit on the shelf, full of possibility, and sometimes they are like little historical artefacts that take you back in time and remind you of your previous food phases. And as I was flicking through the bookshelves I saw a book that took me right back to my youth – it’s a dated looking book called Home from Work Suppers by Sara Buenfield and if you want to see the retro cover it’s available here. I remember my Mum re-finding her love of cooking and I’m sure it was around the time she bought this book. There’s actually some lovely recipes in there, but the one I remember being a favourite when I was around 15 was Thai Chicken with Basil and Chillies. It was slightly ahead of it’s time – nowadays there’s huge volumes dedicated to every type of Asian cuisine, but this recipe still had to describe what fish sauce is, and how to substitute it if you can’t get hold of it. Now I LOVE Thai food, and so does Paul, so I wanted to see if this recipe would live up to my memory, especially given the ingredients that are now so prevalent in even the smallest of supermarkets (galangal, palm sugar and the like).
Now, whilst I wouldn’t say this recipe is the best to try if you want to turn your hand to an authentic Thai stirfry, it is a really tasty stirfry that’s quick to make and easy to eat. And it’s one that I’ll cook again. Paul liked it which was important, but I loved it as it took me right back to the kitchen in Bolton where I’d help Mum with the preparation and Dad would dig out the wok!
KB rating 8.75/10. PR rating 8.25/10. (He said it would’ve been higher if I’d added more chilli)
Thai Chicken with Basil and Chillies (serves 2)
- 2 chicken breasts
- 2 garlic cloves
- 1-2 fresh green chillies (I used 2, and whilst it might have been the strength of my particular chillies, I felt it needed a bigger heat kick)
- 1 large red pepper
- 90g sugar snap peas or mangetouts
- 4 spring onions
- 7g fresh basil
- 1 tsp cornflour
- 2 tbsp fish sauce
- 1 tbsp sesame oil
- 1 tsp ground coriander
- 1 tbsp soft brown sugar
First prepare all the ingredients, as there’s not much cooking time. Slice the chicken into bite-sized strips. Chop the garlic, seed and finely chop the chillies and roughly chop the red pepper. Top and tail the sugar snaps or mangetouts. Chop the spring onion at a slight angle to make fine shreds. Shred the basil.
Mix the cornflour with the fish sauce until smooth.
Heat the oil in a wok over a high heat until very hot and then toss in the chicken, garlic, chillies and stir fry for 2 minutes until the chicken changes colour.
Add the red pepper, sugarsnaps/mangetouts, spring onions, ground coriander and sugar and stir fry for 4-5 minutes. Stir the cornflour mixture before pouring over the chicken and vegetables, stirring constantly until the juices thicken.
Throw in the basil and remove from the heat. Serve immediately with jasmine rice.